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Old 11-14-2007, 07:13 PM   #1
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PEX vs. Copper


My boyfriend and I just bought a new house and we have to replace the existing galvanized steel pipes and plumb a new bathroom. I have had 4 plumbers out and the one I like the best only uses copper. I've heard good things about both copper and PEX, but this copper plumber says that he has heard of problems with rodents eating through PEX. Is that true? Also, he said that the price of copper and PEX is comparable, I don't know that this is true either. I guess I'm just looking for any information about which product we should use. Any help/advice would be greatly appreciated. Thanks!

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Old 11-14-2007, 07:59 PM   #2
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PEX vs. Copper


I've never heard of rodents eating pex. I suppose if for whatever reason they chose too they could though. Copper is much more expensive then pex, I'm not sure where he gets that bit of information from. Did these plumbers give you estimates?

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Old 11-15-2007, 02:35 AM   #3
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I have heard this is code not to use pex under a building somewhere on the east coast because of rats chewing through it. But who knows, here copper was in the same price range as pex a few yrs ago but now copper is sky high.
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Old 11-15-2007, 02:54 AM   #4
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PEX vs. Copper


All of the pro plumbers in this area are using PEX unless copper is actually specified by the builder or homeowner. There is a great deal of difference in the materials and installation cost here (copper is higher).
Get quotes. I've never heard of anyone having a problem with rats eating PEX.
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Old 11-15-2007, 10:15 AM   #5
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Uponor (PEX) is very familar with the rat story, it is not true. In the labrotory test....the rat died before he ever chew threw the pipe.
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Old 11-15-2007, 11:08 AM   #6
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Is the house infested with rats/mice that potentially might chew the PEX? Cause if it ain't, why should you worry? And if it is, you should see to exterminating them for many other reasons besides plumbing.
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Old 11-16-2007, 12:14 PM   #7
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PEX vs. Copper


My advice:
1. You'll find the pex quotes to be cheaper and pex works fine.
2. If boyfriend doesn't think you're good enough to marry but thinks you are good enough to help pay for his house it's time to dump boyfriend and find a real man who values you.

(or did you only want advice about the plumbing)
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Old 01-19-2009, 09:35 PM   #8
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We had a major remodeling job finished at our house June 2008. We did a lot of bathroom changes, and the plumbers ran PEX from the new tankless hot-water heater to the new and updated bathrooms. In January 2009, in about 48 hours we've had at least 4 water leaks caused by rats chewing through the PEX. Our plumbing contractor contacted his PEX supplier who reported to him that they have had a few reports of rats chewing into/through the PEX. I have photos of ours. One 3 ft section had more than 50 holes or almost holes in it.

Yes, we are working on getting rid of the rats, but I can't ever be 100% sure that we will never have a rat in the attic again. So, we are replacing the PEX with copper. At much more expense now than it would have been to run copper the first time.
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Old 01-19-2009, 11:28 PM   #9
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Fascinating about the rats! I've never seen or heard of that in years of inspecting homes with PEX water lines. Those little boogers will eat anything though I guess. Unless you have a rat problem I wouldn't give it a thought.

Rats aside, PEX is an awesome product and you can't usually go wrong with it. As stated, PEX materials are considerably cheaper than copper and the installation is much faster and therefore might be cheaper as well. The plumber that is telling you that PEX and copper are similarly priced is misleading you, probably because he can make more money on a copper job because it takes longer and there's more potential for materials markup because the materials cost more.
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Old 01-19-2009, 11:53 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rwinford View Post
We had a major remodeling job finished at our house June 2008. We did a lot of bathroom changes, and the plumbers ran PEX from the new tankless hot-water heater to the new and updated bathrooms. In January 2009, in about 48 hours we've had at least 4 water leaks caused by rats chewing through the PEX. Our plumbing contractor contacted his PEX supplier who reported to him that they have had a few reports of rats chewing into/through the PEX. I have photos of ours. One 3 ft section had more than 50 holes or almost holes in it.

Yes, we are working on getting rid of the rats, but I can't ever be 100% sure that we will never have a rat in the attic again. So, we are replacing the PEX with copper. At much more expense now than it would have been to run copper the first time.
I would of thought after the rats chews threw the first hole the would have been taking a shower! It's hard to believe they made so many holes so close together. You must have a very serious rat problem.
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Old 01-20-2009, 12:38 AM   #11
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Originally Posted by MgMopar View Post
I would of thought after the rats chews threw the first hole the would have been taking a shower! It's hard to believe they made so many holes so close together. You must have a very serious rat problem.
I agree, to have so many holes near each other means that either they ALL chewed it at once, or you had a BAD leak for an extended period of time (flooding) or these creatures dont care about getting wet with HOT water and kept on chewing, which seems unlikely.

Are you sure someone isnt pranking you?
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Old 01-20-2009, 06:46 AM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rwinford View Post
We had a major remodeling job finished at our house June 2008. We did a lot of bathroom changes, and the plumbers ran PEX from the new tankless hot-water heater to the new and updated bathrooms. In January 2009, in about 48 hours we've had at least 4 water leaks caused by rats chewing through the PEX. Our plumbing contractor contacted his PEX supplier who reported to him that they have had a few reports of rats chewing into/through the PEX. I have photos of ours. One 3 ft section had more than 50 holes or almost holes in it.

Yes, we are working on getting rid of the rats, but I can't ever be 100% sure that we will never have a rat in the attic again. So, we are replacing the PEX with copper. At much more expense now than it would have been to run copper the first time.
these are not rat bites, looks more like an out of work Union plumber
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Old 01-20-2009, 07:24 AM   #13
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PEX vs. Copper


I agree, it looks like it could have been chewed through or rubbed on an abrasive, anyway once they got through the first time they wouldn't stick around for the second, third or fourth hole.
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Old 01-20-2009, 08:16 AM   #14
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PEX vs. Copper


If the plumber you liked can do your job within your budget and use copper, I see no reason to not use him. Metal prices have fallen drastically in the last few months, but I cant imagine that it will be comparable to having it done with PEX. Maybe he has a large amount of copper on hand, but most plumbers usually dont keep that kind of inventory laying around. Like previously stated, get your estimates and check their references so that you will have a good replumbing experience.
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Old 01-20-2009, 08:47 AM   #15
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I'm old school and never much for being on the cutting edge of the "latest and greatest" so I still use copper. Price hasn't changed much in the last few years after it rose so steeply, and around here its actually going back down slightly. Yes its probably more expensive, but I know what copper will do over time, for me PEX hasn't been around long enough to prove itself yet. The fittings are still what bug me about PEX, not the tubing itself.

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